Jack Hughes and Kaapo Kakko, expected to be the first two picks in the 2019 NHL Draft, met off the ice for the first time Thursday.
But Hughes knows it won't be the last time they're viewed together if the New Jersey Devils select him with the No. 1 pick and Kakko goes No. 2 to the New York Rangers, or vice versa, during the first round at Rogers Arena on Friday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN, TVAS). Rounds 2-7 will be Saturday (1 p.m. ET; NHLN, SN).
"We'll be linked together for a long time, Devils-Rangers, it should be pretty cool and a lot of fun," Hughes said of the longtime rivals. "You saw [Washington Capitals forward Alex] Ovechkin and [Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney] Crosby do it all these years. I am not saying we're going to be Ovechkin and Crosby, but it's going to be pretty cool to be linked like that."
Ovechkin, the No. 1 pick in the 2004 NHL Draft, and Crosby, the top selection in the 2005 NHL Draft, each entered the League in 2005-06.
Hughes, a center who is No. 1 in NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of North American skaters, said he's ready to hear his name called so he can move on to the next stage of his career.
"I'm excited to finally find out the team I go to and start to be part of an organization, be something bigger than myself," he said. "Not just be Jack Hughes but be Jack Hughes on a certain team."
Hughes said he expects to play in the NHL next season, as does Kakko, a right wing who is No. 1 on Central Scouting's final ranking of International skaters.